Travel Confessions: Dan Blumberg on his gap year in the Americas
It's been said that travel is the best education and you don't always have to volunteer or work to get some worldly experience on a gap year abroad. After finishing university, Dan Blumberg spent six months backpacking with G Adventures around the world, including North, Central and South America. We caught up with Dan in Cusco, Peru after he completed the Inca Trail tour with G Adventures, which he says everyone should do it at some stage of their lives, no matter how old!
What sparked your decision to take a gap year and go backpacking?
Having just finished university, the decision to take gap before starting full-time work was a no-brainer. I don’t think I will ever get an opportunity like this to travel for a long time.
Why did you choose to head to the Americas instead of the typical London or Canada gap year options?
The Americas offers adventures of every kind and is well suited to the intrepid traveller. For me, there was so much unknown about Central America and South America, which is why I chose to travel there. Central America has everything to offer; from the heights, climbing some of the highest volcanos in Central America; to the depths, scuba diving off the islands of Belize and Honduras; and everything in between including ziplining and bungee jumping in Costa Rica, jumping off waterfalls in Guatemala and natural hot springs in Nicaragua.
What trips have you done with G Adventures?
I’ve done a 32-day trip through Central America, a 10-day cruise through the Galapagos Islands, a 12-day trip through Peru including Lima, the Amazon, Cusco, the Inca Trail, an Iguazu Falls tour and a Buenos Aires tour with G Adventures.
What was one of the biggest lessons you learnt from your time away?
Try the delicious street food, but be willing to pay for it later.
What was the highlight of your trip?
The Galapagos Islands, each island so different with wildlife in abundance and the best snorkelling I have ever done. You see things you will never see again in your lifetime.
What was the most challenging part of your trip?
Transport through Central America is by public buses - some so cramped you can't move for hours (often in sweltering heat with no air-conditioning), some with street vendors waving local products in your face, and some with drivers taking turns twice as fast as they should.
What was the most rewarding part of your trip?
Hiking the Inca Trail in the rainy season to reach the Sun Gate and catch the first glimpse of Machu Picchu. The four-day hike is made much easier by porters who set up and pack your tent and mattress, carry your duffel bag filled with clothes, and cook your food.
Favourite country you've travelled to so far?
Guatemala. It should be top of everyone's list – from its 'New York City' of Mayan ruins in Tikal to one of the highest volcanos of Central America and the most magical city of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site.
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